winter

winter

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

White Rose of Resistance.

With the rising tide of Nazi sympathizers and their ilk, I have taken up the practice of wearing a white rose as a symbol of resistance. The White Rose Society was a resistance organization based out of Munich formed by a group of students from that university. They distributed anti-Nazi pamphlets and engaged in acts of defiance. One of the defining traits of the White Rose Society was that they were intellectuals. They came together to resist the ultra-nationalistic propaganda and the oppressive practices of the state.

I am presently contemplating making these roses and selling them on Etsy for the cost of production and shipping. If I do so, I will include a note about the White Rose Society. If I happen to sell them for a higher cost than shipping and production, I will likely be donating the profits to programs that are threatened by the increasingly draconian propositions coming out of DC right now. This would include but not be limited to: Planned Parenthood, The Trevor Project, and the Southern Poverty Law Center, as well as local programs in my region.


As you may be able to tell, these are crochet items. I give the pattern below for free. share it as you see fit or make what you wish with them. The base pattern for the flower can be made more 'full' if you add more rings of petals. I am using sport weight acrylic yarn. The flowers I crochet with a size G crochet hook (4 mm). The leaves were made using a size H hook (5 mm). This pattern is written up in US terms. I may at some point this week come back and post a video tutorial how to make these. I'm not decided right now. After assembling the flower and the leaves, I stitched the entire affair to a safety pin with a flat back. This works better to keep the flower facing the correct direction and it doesn't shift as much when it is being worn.

White Rose of Resistance Pin

Materials Needed

Size G & Size H crochet hooks
Safety Pin with flat back
Large eye yarn needle (I used a steel one because I prefer it. Plastic can also be an option.)

Small quantity of white yarn, sport weight acrylic
Small quantity of green yarn, sport weight acryic

The Blossom

With the size G hook and the white yarn, make a slip knot and insert your hook in to the loop. Chain 3. Make a half double crochet into the third chain from the hook. Repeat 14 times. (15 stitches in total) Slip stitch into the top of the chain at the beginning of the round.

Chain one. [Half double crochet into the first stitch. Double crochet into the first stitch. Triple crochet into the first stitch. Chain one. Triple crochet into the second stitch. Double crochet into the second stitch. Half double crochet into the second stitch. Slip stitch into the third stitch]*.  Repeat * four times. Slip stitch into first stitch of the round (5 petals, 40 stitches).

Slip stitch two stitches along the FIRST ROUND (you will be approximately at the center of the first petal on the round before it). [Chain four. Slip stitch at the point that is approximately at the center of the next petal in the first round.]* Repeat * four times (5 chain loops, 25 stitches). Slip stitch into the first stitch of the round.

Chain one. [Half double crochet into the first loop twice. Double crochet into the first loop. Triple crochet into the first loop. Chain one. Triple crochet into the first loop. Double crochet into the first loop. Half double crochet into the first loop twice. Slip stitch into the join to first round.]* Repeat 4 times. (5 petals, 50 st)

Slip stitch two stitches along the FIRST ROUND (you will be approximately at the center of the first peal of the round). [Chain five. Slip stitch at the point that is approximately center of the next peal in the first round.]* Repeat * four times. Slip stitch into the first stitch of the round. (5 loops, 30 stitches)

Chain one. [Half double crochet into the first loop twice. Double crochet into the first loop twice. Triple crochet into the loop. Chain one. Triple crochet into the loop. Double crochet into the loop twice. Half double crochet into the loop twice. Slip stitch into the join to the first round.]* Repeat 4 times. Slip stitch into the first stitch of the round. (5 petals, 60 stitches)

Fasten off. Leave a tail of yarn 6 inches long. Make 1 blossom.

The Leaves

With the green yarn and size H hook, make a slip knot and insert the hook through the loop. Chain six. Single crochet into the second chain from the hook. Half double crochet into next stitch. Double crochet into the next two stitches. Work six double crochet into final stitch. Work along the back of the foundation chain, one double crochet into the next two stitches. Half double crochet into the next stitch. Slip stitch into single crochet. Fasten off. Weave in ends. Make 2 leaves,

Assembly

Cross leaves a the base with the center lines at a 90 degree angle to each other. (Base of the leaf is the end with the 6 stitches.) With long tail from blossom, sew leaves together and onto the blossom on the wrong side of the blossom. Make stitches even and small. Do not stitch through the entire blossom, only pick up the back loop facing the wrong side of the blossom. Stitch safety pin to center back of the blossom with remaining length of yarn. Fasten off and weave ends.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

NOTES:

1. Slip stitching into the first round will not be very noticeable on the front of the blossom if you are using a solid color.

2. The sections where the petals are made, the stitches for the petals need to be in each loop.

3. This is theoretically washing machine safe if you do so on delicate and your stitches are done tightly. I would wash it by hand.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

NaBloPoMo # ±|potato|

What is the absolute value of potato? Good question. I will let the great sage, the philosopher king Samwise Gamgee answer that question:


Sunday, November 27, 2016

NaBloPoMo # watevr

I spent my afternoon and early evening writing posts for another blog. A part of me said I should have been working on my novel (which I recognize now is most likely going to be a novella) but the rest of me is more interested in trying to get some 'real work' done. I am not entirely sure how much writing I am going to get done over the next few weeks. I am coming down the home stretch on crafting things for people. I am not exactly sure how to manage the last few items, but I am confident that it will come out well. I am crafty in more ways than one.

I am going to attempt to get some work done on the manuscript. I'm not shoving it into a drawer and forgetting about it. Having the notebook sitting there on the table makes it really hard to ignore. It doesn't hurt that thing is school bus yellow, I suppose. I am not going to panic over this, though. I'm just going to keep doing all the things I need to in order to make things happen.

Once I figure out how to start addressing the cluster fuck that is all of the political concerns I have, I am going to start trying to get more active on that front. Before I can get into that fray, though, I have to get my own house in order. So, I do what I can but I am not going to push myself too hard. Remember my limitations and such.

Friday, November 25, 2016

NaBloPoMo (n+1[i/i])

Still feeling awful. Today, I am realizing that there is just no way I am going to finish this novel I have been working on. I think my total time for writing has been about a week and it was not a good week's worth of work. I know that many people would insist that I should not run up the flag of surrender. I recognize, however, that I haven't the reserves to do this right now. My health issues are proving a sufficient enough strain that my novel is going to have to wait.

I sit here unsure how the next several weeks are going to go. I am troubled by so many things. Only a small portion of this is relating to my physical health. The state of the world and the nation deeply disturbs me. I have friends enduring hardship that I am relatively powerless to help. It is all very difficult and I don't know how I am going to proceed forward. I had plans but now they seem to fall apart.

I feel as though I am in freefall. It is a sensation that I hate because all I can think of is the abrupt end that comes after such a descent.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

NaBloPoMo # 7 (?) Inconclusive evidence.

My day today has been long and uncomfortable. I am, apparently, allergic to pretty much every single pain medication that can be offered except for Tylenol and Aleve. We have one last shot and if the Tramadol evokes an allergic reaction, I pretty much have nothing to use but those two. I am trying very hard not to be afraid and upset. We don't know what is going on right now.

We know that I don't have an ovarian cyst. We know that it isn't constipation or something similar. My ultrasounds came out looking normal. The doctor is talking about next thing to be tried is a CT scan. I am trying so hard not to worry. A part of me is afraid that this could be something wrong with my pancreas. It's the next major organ in the region of the body that hurts horribly.

I'm working very hard not to get caught up in anxiety. It is, however, very difficult.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Snowflake.

So, they'll call me a 'special snowflake' with scorn in their voice. They'll imply that I am someone who demands to be handled with exquisite care and sheltered from the harsh reality of the world. They'll say that I am over emotional. Some will even insist that my 'delicate nature' is due to my gender presentation. You want to call me a snowflake, go ahead.

I would like to remind you, though, snow is lethal. The ice it is made of will suck the heat out of you and leave you helpless. It will steal your breath, rendering you voiceless. You will die from the cold and think that you are overly warm, hastening your demise with your confused deeds. You will in your last moments, hide like a feral animal, utterly divested of your dignity. Snow can kill you and you will not realize you are dying.

From Wikipedia
Ah, but some would say that the snowflake is simply a weak thing that can be destroyed with warm breath and warded against with proper precautions. You are a fool to assume this is the case, though, because the snow does not come only in ice. It also comes in stone. And the stone is not something weak and fragile. Oh, it is beautiful. It is also born from the fires at the core of the earth. Snowflake obsidion can be fashioned in to razor sharp blades. Many a person has died from crude weapons fashioned from a hunk of raw stone. A higher number has perished from weapons made with skill and deliberate action.

The other thing you must remember about snowflakes is that there is never only one. They always come in significant numbers. And they're silent until they reach a point that you are unable to do anything about the danger posed by the weight of their presence. Call me a snowflake. Know that I am coming and there is an avalanche at my back coming for you as well.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

NaBloPoMo # 7: Spreading Love!

So, I have been in a lot of pain due to what ever is going on with my ovaries. Yesterday, I had no writing done because I was at the hospital. After some investigation, the conclusion has been reached that I can not have any form of narcotic pain relief due to allergic response. I am not pleased with this development. As an attempt to distract myself from this, I have been knitting.

This hat is really simple. And it is pretty small, because I'm making it for one of the kids in the neighborhood who doesn't have a hat for cold weather. I started out with crochet for the top of the hat. I used a size H hook (5.5mm) and sport weight acrylic yarn. I am actually using one of Caron's Simply Soft Paints. I forget what the colorway is called. I lost the ball band in the course of cleaning last week. Using the magic ring method, I made a circle of twelve single crochet stitches. I then increased in each stitch (slip stitching the last stitch to the first at the end of the round) before proceeding in the usual manner until I had 36 stitches in total. I then picked up each stitch onto a DPN needle that was sized 9 (also 5.5mm). I started knitting in the round until the entire affair was 9 in long. I bound off knitwise.

I'm not pleased with how tense my bound off edge is. I can't quite manage to get the hang of casting off loosely or with a stretchy one. I think I need to watch more Youtube tutorials or something. Maybe I can talk my MiL into showing me how to do it. She knits socks all the time, so I know she knows the trick for that one. I am stalled on the duckie scarf. I am, however, going to pick that back up and work on getting it done.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

NaBloPoMo # 6 - Slow progress.

I had my morning sucked up by paying bills and such. But, my afternoon and a good portion of my evening was spent writing. I added around 1.5k today. My hand aches a little but whatever. I got some writing done today. Thus, today was a productive day and a good day. Maybe tomorrow I will hit something closer to 2k. I think, however, I am going to switch back to being powered by coffee, mostly. While the tea helps me reconnect with the mental place this stuff is coming from, the coffee has more kick and helps make my thoughts flow better. If this makes any sense.

Word Count: 14500
# hours writing: 2.5 approx
# cups of tea drunk: 6
page count: approx 50

Monday, November 14, 2016

NaBloPoMo # 5

Well, I got some more done today. Despite the kids distracting me. Maybe I can get this damn thing done after all.

Word Count: 11500

NaBloPoMo Post #4 - Words good?

So, I've spent the last hour writing. I am taking a brief break because my hand feels somewhat crampy. I have added 1k to the manuscript. I am not entirely pleased with what I have produced. It feels shallow and contrived. That, however, is part of what happens when you write a rough draft. That bit of uncertainty will get polished away when I edit this thing. I am trying to keep hope that I can finish this thing somewhere close to on time. If 1k is written in an hour, I may be able to get up to 3k on a given day. I suppose the lack of distractions from the children makes a big difference in my word count. I'll try to get more done in a little bit.

NaNoWriMo Word count: 10,000
Writing Time today: 1 hr (thus far)
Page Count: 39
# Chocolate Covered Espresso beans consumed: 10
# Cups of Coffee: 0.5

Sunday, November 13, 2016

NaBloPoMo Post # 3(?)

It has been a long day. I got almost 2k words written today on my novel. Part of my challenge was the kids distracting me much of the day. Anyone who is writing and has small children about knows this feeling very well. The other part of my challenge today was just getting out of my own way. I am finding that my novel is not as fun as other things I have written in the past. I don't think the problem is that I am writing this thing by hand. I will say, however, I have had mild hand cramps this evening. I don't think I will be doing any knitting tomorrow morning after putting the kids on the bus.

I think my biggest problem with this project is that I am sitting here quietly afraid that something horrible is going to come out of this thing. I'm writing a fictionalized memoir. Some of what I put down on paper comes from things I have actually experienced. Some of what I put down is invented to fill in the gaps with what is too uncomfortable to write down or to serve as a mask to keep some of the demons at my back. I wish that I could say that my novel is something that is going to end in happiness and light.

It isn't. It is grueling to write. It is filled with darkness and agony. Mashing together five separate stays in the psychiatric ward due to illness and all of the trauma that lead to it happening is proving exhausting. Still, I feel like I can't put this project down. I find that I would love to set this thing aside but I feel compelled to keep working on it. The more I write, the more I feel I have to write. And it is uncomfortable and disturbing things that I am writing. Presently, there is more fiction than there is fact but it is also a case where the fiction is illuminating more than I think the fact would have.

The time span this novel covers is a single month. I am half considering dragging out my journal from when I was last inpatient to compare it to what I am writing now. I think, however, that would rob me of my authenticity in this piece. I don't know how that actually works, but my gut says that it will be the case if I started referencing past material. Even doing some research to make sure that I am describing something properly made me feel like I was on the path of losing this character's voice.

It wouldn't be such a big deal if it wasn't for the fact that I am writing this thing in first person. The book is the character's journal. I don't know if I am going to accomplish 50k this month. I am going to try, but gods only know if I am going to get close to it. A part of me says I should spend some time on a second project, something lighter than this, but I can't shake the feeling that I must see this manuscript to completion before I do something different.

NaNoWriMo Word Count: 9k
Total Writing Time Today: 3 hrs (approx.)
Page Count: 35

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

A Sunny Spot on the Wall.

Perhaps you are familiar with Margaret Atwood's novel A Handmaid's Tale. If you are not, I strongly advise you read it. Consider as you do so that it was written in 1985, a little over thirty years ago. Also, consider how closely those themes run to that which is espoused by the supporters of Donald Trump. The parallels are fundamentally disturbing. I could devote a whole post to this, an analysis of the book, and how it seems that people have taken it as an instruction manual. (I feel as though similar arguments can be made regarding George Orwell's 1984.) This, however, is not the purpose of my post this evening.

I have spent my day attempting to make sense of the apparent madness that is unfurling. Yes, some would argue that I am presenting a hysterical (in a decidedly unfunny sense) picture of things. Many who would decry my position as hysteria would have declared a woman who was of a mind to exercise her rights as suffering from hysteria back when it was considered a legitimate diagnosis. I pay them little heed but I do give them a small bit of time in my thoughts, to consider them scornfully and with great loathing. Given a casual assessment of what has been reported via social media alone, there has been a stark uptick in violence in both word and deed on the basis of racism, sexism, and xenophobia. I have not seen much in the way of reports of such things against people who are disabled but I would not be surprised by this.

This behavior does not behoove us as the descendants of statesmen such as the ones who ironed out the principles that lead to the development of the Consitution of the United States. Or does it? Thomas Jefferson, famed for penning the cherished Declaration of Independence, argued that a white man was of greater value than a black man, specifically slaves. It was known as the 3/5ths compromise. It is a shameful chapter in the history of this nation, among many. Just because our ancestors (both ideological and literal) behaved in a manner that denied the humanity of their fellow people and promoted hatred against them, it does not mean that we can do so as well.

We are supposed to improve upon what was done by they who came before us. The Civil Rights act of 1866 was supposed to rectify the gross errors of our government and people. The Civil Rights act of 1964 was supposed to rectify yet more of those gross errors. This is but one example of how we were supposed to improve and propel our nation towards a more just place wherein all citizens enjoy the protections and liberties explicit and implicit that came by virtue of being part of this nation. And yet, what have we done in electing Donald Trump? We have taken a step backwards.

Still, perhaps we were not as forward thinking as we wished to tell ourselves and present ourselves to the world at large. Donald Trump tapped into a deep vein of hatred that runs through this nation. I can not say this is a great nation. I have not been able to say that for over a decade now. And I think that when I said it when I was younger, it was out of ignorance and believing the pretty stories we told ourselves about how good we are. I suppose one good thing to come out of the horrendous train wreck that has been this election cycle is that the seething, putrid wash of hatred that was fermenting beneath the surface has been revealed.

It has revealed how brother has turned against brother and the way that people wish ill upon others for merely existing. Some are concerned that we are a heartbeat away from a civil war. Others are afraid that the country is headed to ruin, with the likelihood of greater warfare happening within months of Donald Trump being sworn into office. In the meantime, no less than eleven people committed suicide within the last 24 hours with fear that they would have been murdered because of their status as part of the LGBT+ community. And this is only what I am aware of through my relatively small social circle. Gods only know what the final tally will be when sunrise comes tomorrow. I have lost count of how many people relating how they have been harassed and threatened with violence on the basis of their beliefs, their apparent racial background, and their gender presentation. This is but the tip of the iceberg that the good ship America has run into.

I will not attempt auguries to divine what manner of disaster awaits us. My heart can not stand that. I have spent my day feeling sick and horrified. I have been afraid for friends of mine who have moved from being in an abstract position of danger to one of real danger because Donald Trump's ascension has emboldened the people who threaten them. I sit here and question what I can do to oppose this rising tide of fascism. Do not let anyone tell you that this mess is something different. It is perhaps by the perversity of the Divine's humor that the election was decided upon the 78th anniversary of Kristallnacht.

I don't know if I will need to make plans to hide friends from some manner of governmental oppression. I don't know if I should carefully consider how to present as something I am not to ensure the safety of my children. I don't know where this leads. I only know that nothing good comes of this. I know this in my bones. I fear for the future. People who are dear to me have tried to assure me that the apathy that has run rampant through this country will insulate us from the greater dangers that lie about us. I question this assertion. When not even a full day after this man has won the race people are having their very lives threatened with impunity, I suspect that apathy will not save us. If anything, it will be further damnation.

I do know this, I will find away to stand against this. I will find away to resist the hatred. And, when the day is done, I will do my best to ensure that my children and the generations that come after them live in a nation that is closer to being more just and humane. Or at least die trying. Because sometimes, the war that is fought is in our hearts and minds, not with guns and forces of might. I will not be silenced.

So, save me a sunny spot on the wall. And I am sure we will have good company to hang in chains with if all things truly go to hell.

Thursday, November 03, 2016

NaNoWriMo Post No. 1 - WTF am I doing?

It has been a difficult couple of days. I was struggling with feeling depressed. Now I am in a mixed episode. I don't know how long it is going to persist. I rather dread going to the new psychiatrist on Monday. My first appointment was on Halloween. It was difficult because I talked about a lot of difficult stuff. Next appointment is going to be more of the same.

I've been busy with things like piles of laundry and dentist appointments over the last three days. Now, I sit here at the computer struggling to write. I am having a hard time concentrating. Thus, I am having a hard time putting together words for this blog. And I am at a loss for where to begin with the manuscript this year. I was going to pick up something I started last year for Camp NaNo but I didn't finish. Having sat with it and attempted to work with it, I feel like it is not going to work for me this year. I was going to do a fictionalized autobiography. But that just ... it all is striking too close to the real trauma I've been dealing with. So, I have set this aside. I don't know where I go from here. A part of me says I am mad for thinking about doing this year's novel by hand.

Ah well, time to pick up the pen and at least try. If nothing else, writing 3 pages (minimum) a day will end in this thing being full by the end of the month. Maybe I'll try something fanfiction or something like that. I don't know.

Word Count: 0
Goal: 50,000